I have been shuttling around this mortal coil for half a century now (I know ancient) and I was thinking about all the things that have changed during my lifetime that really changed lives.
An obvious starting point is the television. when we were children it was in black and white and there the first colour televisions came in and whole streets would cram into someone's house to see this new miracle. I remember when we first got our colour television - we had visits from all of the neighbours over a week or so for spurious reasons because they couldn't just come out and say they wanted to see the colour television. One of my friends used to save the coloured see-through paper from sweets and watch her black ad white television through those lol. We didn't think anything about it back then.
Then the remote controls came - wired ones at first (lol kept tripping my brother up with ours), the switches changed from rotating knobs the size of those on a family cooker to push buttons. My granddad had one of the first televisons with 'touch sensitive' controls - damn thing changed channel every time someone jangled change or keys. The wiring meant that you had to sit in one particular place to be able to change the channels which Granddad promptly claimed as his seat and we had to endure so many gardening programmes with the phrase 'sit down and shut up, you'll enjoy this', hmmm not quite Granddad. Now we are lazy and change the channel all the time with the doohickey (remote) and will cross a room to fetch the remote when the tv is closer. Televisions got bigger and bigger and yet now they are smaller than ever (depth wise) and some even fit on a wrist whilst others are large enough to cover the side of a house.
I have to say communication and the internet are also huge changes. When I was a child we were considered snobs because our telephone wasn't a party line (the same number for two or more houses - you could only use it when your neighbour wasn't - weird). From there we went to the eighties when I was working in London and unfortunately had to carry the brick of an early mobile phone so they could contact me when I was out of the office. I hated that thing it was almost the size of a shoe box and weighed a tonne.
Getting hold of someone before that had usually meant writing to them and waiting a week or so for a reply. Now we send an email and can have a reply seconds later. Although at first it always seemed to take an awful lot longer than a few seconds. When we first went online at home in 1999, the internet connection would cut out every time someone phoned or basically if a pigeon farted within a twelve mile radius and it was soooooo slow. You could switch the pc on and go for a bath while it loaded! Now we complain if we have to wait a few seconds . For this change to have happened in such a short space of time is bordering on miraculous. Yet we take it all for granted and rarely step back to see the big picture and how much easier life is today in some ways.
The impact this has had on all other areas of our lives is phenomenal - look at how hospitals and doctors now have the access to test results within minutes via the wonders of the computer and the tablet. The police have instant access to the records of criminals and others thereby allowing them to know that certain people need keeping in a cell even if their 'crime' is on the border-line of stay and go.
The world is only an arm's length away from us now, all the good and bad of the world available for us to consume at the push of a few buttons - or even with our speech. This from a civilisation who only learned to fly a little over a century ago, now we're thinking of flying to space for a holiday.
I am really pleased for the effect technology has had on my life and I'm not afraid to say so. Does that make me a materialist? I don't think so but I'll leave you to judge.
I know thinking about it makes me feel really old but also really lucky. It does us good to stop and realise how lucky we are. So what is the main change that you have known?
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